Hannes Richter

Bösendorfer Conquers U.S. Market

Hannes Richter
Bösendorfer, designed by F.A. Porsche

Wilhelm Backhaus once said: "I see in Bösendorfer much more than simply a magnificent piano - for me it represents the ideal embodiment of Viennese musical culture. It is hardly a coincidence that such a piano that is so irresistibly attractive to all heroes of music since time immemorial was born in a city such as this." This is only one of the many reasons why pianists throughout the world prefer a Bösendorfer grand piano and refer to it as the "Rolls Royce of Pianos." It is known for its "extraordinary quality of sound," or "its soul that differs from other instruments," as well as for the firm's long tradition of quality.

For over 175 years the Austrian firm of Ludwig Bösendorfer has produced instruments which were played by Liszt, Brahms, Dvorák and Bernstein and other great artists. The particular richness of history associated with the name has engendered a commitment to excellence on the part of the Ludwig Bösendorfer Piano Factory. Responding to the individual needs of a highly professional clientele of concert pianists, refinements are continuously made to the pianos.

And so, grand pianos are produced according to exacting standards - a procedure involving many months of work. After careful selection of special woods from the forest of Val di Fiemme, Italy, they are seasoned over a period of many years. Each instrument is then custom-made by professional specialists. This lengthy, elaborate and intricate procedure results in a relatively small production.

Nevertheless, Bösendorfer pianos are sold throughout the world and a showroom in New York has recently been opened. Together with a network of about 40 dealers, efforts are underway to have Bösendorfer’s grands more widely heard and seen on American concert stages.

By combining the time honoured standards of quality contruction with engineering innovation the firm hopes to gain a major foothold in the American market.

Bösendorfer recently became the official piano of the world famous New York jazz club, Blue Note, in Greenwich Village. Such great jazz artists as Quincy Jones, as well as pop artists like Billy Joel, Tori Amos and Lionel Richie play Bösendorfer pianos. Internationally renowned classical artists like André Previn, András Schiff and Paul Badura-Skoda own and prefer to play a Bösendorfer piano.

In a further effort to encourage exposure among American musicians, Bösendorfer has placed a concert grand in the rehearsal studio of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Here artists like Peter Serkin had an opportunity to try it. "Not everyone wants to hear music always played on the same type of piano," said Gerhard Feldmann of Bösendorfer New York. "We want to give artists a choice."

After having been owned by the American company Kimball for more than 35 years, the L. Bösendorfer Piano is now in Austrian hands again. It is now owned by the BAWAG P.S.K Group, Austria’s fouth-largest banking group.